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Batang Gilas barges into FIBA U18 Quarters

Sean Dave Ildefonso (FIBA Images)

Sean Dave Ildefonso (FIBA Images)

by Kristel Satumbaga

Batang Gilas knocked down sturdy China, 73-63, Tuesday night to barge into the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship at the Studio 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The PH youth squad leaned on the all-around heroics of Sean Ildefonso, AJ Edu and Kai Sotto for a three-game sweep in Group B and an automatic ticket to the next phase.

Ildefonso starred with 18 points and seven rebounds while Edu and Sotto exploded with combined 24 points, 24 rebounds and nine blocks against the country’s long-time tormentors.

Batang Gilas directed the tempo after untangling from a 12-all tie in the opening quarter, protecting its lead throughout despite the resilient attempts of the powerhouse Chinese squad.

Dalph Panopio also shone with 12 points and eight rebounds while Miguel Oczon added 11 markers including a perfect 8-of-8 freethrow shooting for the Nationals, who earlier demolished Lebanon, 75-53, and United Arab Emirates, 92-49.

It was a striking win for the PH dribblers, who arranged a next meeting with either Bahrain or the losing squad between South Korea and Chinese Taipei.

Guo Haowen topscored for the Chinese with 24 points while Jiang Haoran and Wang Quanze finished with 14 and 13 markers.

The Filipinos shot an impressive 43.90 percent on the field compared to China’s 26.80 percent while taking advantage of their height to swat away 10 block shots – nine from Edu and Sotto combined – compared to China’s only one.

The PH team takes a break today as quarters fire off tomorrow.